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AUTHOR OF FIGHT CLUB CHUCK PALAHNIUK PHOTOS, ILLUSTRATIONS, EDITING PEIHUA LEE


Chuck Palahniuk


CONTENTS SUMMARY

PREFACE W H AT I S G O I N G T O H A P P E N I N T H E B O O K

00-05

CHARACTERS SIX MAIN CHARACTERS

06-19

ROLE MAPPING T H E R E L AT I O N S O F T H E R O L E S

20-25

EXTRACT C O M B I N AT I O N O F I M A G E S A N D T H E T E X T S TA G E 1 - S TA G E 2 5

26-93


28

I N I T I A L I Z AT I O N

30

WARMTH

32

THE THEFT OF RESURRECTION

34

THE FORMULA

36

PERFERCTION

38

SOS

40

THE FIRST FIGHT

42

THE BOTTOM LINE

44

BURN

46

WRECK

48

UNEXPECTED MEETING

50

CAPABILITY

52

DANCE WITH ME

54

ANGER AROUSER

56

C I R C U L AT I O N

58

E M PAT H Y

60

POOR GIRL

62

SUSPICION

64

DEJA VU

66

S A B O TA G E

68

RECRUITMENT

78

THE CITY

80

EGO

82

PERPLEXITY

84

COLLAPSE

86

THE PERSECUTION OF SPIRIT

88

IS THIS A TEST?

90

FLIGHTS

92

THE CRISIS MANAGEMENT


02

P R E FA C E

MY GOAL IN THIS PROJECT IS TO CONVEY THE ESSENCE OF THE FIGHT CLUB NOVEL INTO TYPGRAPHICAL ARRANGEMENTS IMAGES. THIS ESSENCE HAS A DISTINCTIVE AMBIANCE THAT CAN PRODUCE POWERFUL IMAGERY AND CAPTIVATE THE VIEWER WHEN COMPOSED VIA EDITORAIL DESIGN.


WHAT I WANT TO EXPRESS IN THE BOOK

NOVEL

Published: August 1996 Author: Chuck Palahniuk Original language: English

FLIM

Director: David Fincher Release date: October 1999

03


P R E FA C E

The Narrator and Tyler Durden are standing on top of the Parker-Morris building, which is rigged with explosives. Tyler is holding a gun in the Narrator’s mouth. The Narrator takes us back in time to how he ended up at this point. The Narrator is a bored, aimless office worker whose life has become a meaningless cycle. He works as a recall campaign coordinator. He participates in the consumer-driven goals of his culture. He lives in a nice condominium apartment filled with hip, clever designer furniture. He spends his time wondering about what kind of lamps and chairs will define him as a person.

04

The Narrator flies around the country visiting car accident sites. His company is a car manufacturer and his job is to determine if the cars they make have defects that might have contributed to an accident. His job is to assess the risk and determine if a recall.

is worthwhile. Burned out from traveling, the Narrator takes a vacation. He visits a nude beach where he meets Tyler Durden, a charismatic man who makes soap for a living. Tyler gives him his phone number. After returning home, the Narrator finds that his condominium has blown up in a suspicious explosion. He calls Tyler, who meets him at a bar. After many drinks Tyler tells the Narrator that he can move in with him, but he has to do him a Due to wthe unhappiness in his life, the Narrator develops favor. Tyler asks the Narrator to hit him as hard as he can. They insomnia. He goes to work in a daze and after a few weeks is engage in a messy fight. This is the germination of fight club. desperate for sleep. He goes to see a doctor. The doctor dismisses his issues and tells him that if he wanted to see real pain Tyler and the Narrator continue to fight in bars and parking lots, he should see some of the people in support groups with real attracting the attention of other men. Fight club starts to grow. problems. The Narrator begins seeing men in his day-to-day life with cuts and bruises on their faces. He begins taking less and less interThe Narrator takes his advice and begins visiting support est in his work. groups. He becomes addicted to them. He pretends to be afflicted with various medical issues and diseases so that he can at- One night the Narrator has a dream that he is having sex with tend meetings. Here he meets Big Bob, an ex-body builder and Marla Singer. The next morning Tyler tells him that he met Marla steroid abuser whose testicles had to be removed. During an last night and the two of them had sex. The Narrator is angered. embrace with Bob, the Narrator cries and lets go of his hope. Marla was the reason he couldn’t enjoy the support groups, and That night, he can finally sleep. He continues to go to the groups she has invaded his home life with Tyler too. With Marla in the every night so that he can cry and be comforted. picture, he will also get less of Tyler’s attention. He comes home every day from work to hear Marla and Tyler having sex. One night he notices that a woman has also been attending all the same groups. She too is obviously faking her conditions and Tyler has meanwhile set up a fairly lucrative business selling pretending to be sick and dying. Her name is Marla Singer. With soap. One night he shows the Narrator how to make soap. Using her at the groups, he can no longer cry, and so he can no longer a can of lye he burns the Narrator’s hand and tells him that he sleep either. He fantasizes about confronting her and getting her has much farther to go to reach rock bottom. The Narrator, Tyler thrown out. Instead they decide not to attend the same meetings. says, needs to accept that one day he will die.


SUMMYARY

Tyler and the Narrator decide that they need to blackmail their bosses for the civil disobedience they have been committing on the job. After ensuring checks will continue to be sent to them even though they won’t be working, they are able to focus all their time on fight club. The Narrator learns that Bob has also joined fight club and that there are chapters of fight club that he didn’t even know about. Tyler decides to escalate his civil disobedience into a larger project called Project Mayhem. He recruits fight club members to join and begins amassing a large following. He hands out homework assignments for the members, including the Narrator. After a while, Tyler suddenly disappears. The Narrator finds that everywhere he travels men seem to recognize and address him as “sir”. As he travels around the country he asks these men if they know where Tyler is. They point him toward Seattle. In Seattle, the Narrator meets a bartender in a neck brace who addresses him as Mr. Durden. The Narrator runs back to his hotel room and calls Marla to find out if the two of them have had sex. Marla is mystified by his question and upset with his behavior. He asks her what his name is. She tells him it is Tyler Durden.

05

boards a bus and tries to get away from the scene before he is spotted. The other passengers are all members of Project Mayhem. They tell him that they have orders to castrate him for trying to shut down fight club. They corner him and knock him out with ether. The Narrator wakes up in the remains of his condominium. He has not been castrated. He decides he has to warn Marla about who Tyler really is. She may be in danger. She reluctantly meets him and tells him that he murdered someone. He says he knows about his boss but Marla tells him that he shot another man who was investigating fight club for the mayor. Out of guilt he visits a fight club location and signs up to fight every member there. He wants to die because of the guilt he feels at the deaths of Bob, his boss, and now a third person. He passes out on the floor during a fight. He wakes up in the house he shares with Tyler. Tyler is there. He tells the Narrator that it is time for his grand operatic death. We return to the roof of the Parker-Morris building where Tyler is holding a gun in the Narrator’s mouth. Before he can pull the trigger, Marla and the other support group members show up and tell him to stop. He warns them that the building is set to be demolished by explosives but they do not leave. Marla tells him that she likes him too. He understands that he created Tyler so that he could be with Marla. The clock ticks down to zero but there is no explosion. Despite the protests of Marla and the crowd he still fires a bullet through his cheek.

Tyler “returns” and is upset with the Narrator for discussing him with Marla behind his back. Project Mayhem has begun to take on more extreme assignments and is growing in its number of members. While on an assignment, Bob is killed by a police man. His death prompts the Narrator to try to shut down fight club, but he is thrown out by its members instead. When he wakes up, the Narrator believes he is in heaven. In reality, he is in a mental institution. He sees men there with cuts Upon arriving at work one morning he discovers that his boss is and bruises who tell him that the plans are continuing and they dead. Worse yet, the Narrator knows Tyler is the one who killed can’t wait for him to get better and join them again. him, which means that he killed him, though not wittingly. He


C H A R AT E R S

The Narrator

A modern-day everyman figure as well as an employee specializing in recalls for an unnamed car company, the Narrator, who remains unnamed throughout the novel, is extremely depressed and suffers from insomnia. Some readers call him “Joe”, because of his constant use of the name in such statements as, “I am Joe’s boiling point”. The quotes, “I am Joe’s [blank]”, refer to the narrator’s reading old Reader’s Digest articles in which human organs write about themselves in the first person, with titles such as “I am Joe’s Liver”. In the novel, the Narrator uses various aliases in the support groups. His subconscious is in need of a sense of freedom, he inevitably feels trapped within his own body, and when introduced to Tyler Durden, he begins to see all of the qualities he lacks in himself: “I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage and his smarts. His nerve. Tyler is funny and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free, and I am not.”

08


THE NARRATOR

09


C H A R AT E R S

Tyler Durden

“Because of his nature”, Tyler works night jobs where he sabotages companies and harms clients. He also steals leftover drained human fat from liposuction clinics to supplement his income through soap making and create the ingredients for bomb manufacturing, which will be put to work later with his fight club. He is the co-founder of Fight Club, as it was his idea to instigate the fight that led to it. He later launches Project Mayhem, from which he and the members commit various attacks on consumerism. Tyler is blond, according to the Narrator’s comment “in his everything-blond way”. The unhinged but magnetic Tyler becomes the antagonist of the novel later in the story. The Narrator refers to Tyler as a free spirit, which could almost be a mantra: “Let that which does not matter truly slide.”

10


TYLER DURDEN


C H A R AT E R S

Marla Singer

A woman whom the Narrator meets during a support group. The Narrator no longer receives the same release from the groups when he realizes Marla is faking her problems just as he is. After he leaves the groups, he meets her again when she becomes Tyler’s lover. Marla is shown to be extremely grungy, uncaring, and sometimes even suicidal. However at times she does show a softer, more caring side.

12


MALRA SINGER

13


C H A R AT E R S

Angel Face

A man who joins fight club. He is very loyal to Project Mayhem, laughing at the vandalism he and a group of “space monkeys” have caused as their crimes appear on the evening news. Angel Face is considered very beautiful, hence his name. The blondhaired beauty suffers a savage beating at the Narrator’s hands during a fight club session; the Narrator states that he “wanted to destroy something beautiful.” The next time Angel Face is heard of in the novel, he is described as not being quite as beautiful anymore.

14


ANGEL FACE

15


C H A R AT E R S

Robert Paulson

The Narrator meets Bob at a support group for testicular cancer. A former bodybuilder, Bob lost his testicles to cancer caused by the steroids he used to bulk up his muscles. He had to undergo testosterone injections, resulting in increased estrogen. The increased estrogen levels caused him to grow large breasts and to develop a softer voice. Because of his “woman tits”, Bob is the only known member who is allowed to wear a shirt. The narrator befriends Bob and, after leaving the groups, meets him again in fight club. Bob’s death later in the story, while carrying out an assignment for Project Mayhem, causes the Narrator to turn against Tyler because the members of Project Mayhem treat it as a trivial matter instead of a tragedy.

16


ROBERT PAULSON

17


C H A R AT E R S

The Boss

The boss of the narrator, services for an unnamed car company. After the narrator participating fight club, the boss got several times threatens because he picked up the document the narrator left in a copy machine. In the latter part of the novel, his office got exploded with the bomb set by Tyler Durden and he got killed.

18


THE BOSS

19


22

ROLE MAPPING

Tyler Durden

THE complexity of ROLES’ interactions is one of the most intriguing components OF THE FIGHT CLUB. is there anyone could predict the end at the half of the story? Marla Singer


23

Robert Paulson

Angel Face

The influence of each character The Narrator

The Boss


24

C H A R AT E R S

Marla Singer

The Narrator

Tyler Durden

The Boss

Angel Face


25

The duration of each character’s playing time

Robert Paulson


EXTRACT

08


So Tyler and I are on top of the Parker-Morris Building with the gun stuck in my mouth, and we hear glass breaking. Look over the edge. It’s a cloudy day, even this high up this is the world’s tallest building, and this high up the wind is always cold. It is so quiet this high up, the feeling you get is that you’re one of those space monkeys. You do the little job you’re trained to do.

/ Pull a lever.

/ Push a button.


EXTRACT

30

H i s a r m wra p p e d a rou n d m e , B o b’s hand p a l ms my h e ad again st th e n ew t i t s s p ro ute d o n h is b a rre l ch e st.


WARMTH

31

“It will b e a l r i g ht ,” B ob s ay s . “ you cry n ow. ”


EXTRACT

32

Walking home after a support group, I felt more alive than I’d ever felt. I wasn’t host to cancer or blood parasites; I was the little warm center that the life of the world crowded around. And I slept. Babies don’t sleep this well. Every evening, I died, and every evening, I was born. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Resurrected. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Until tonight, two years of success until tonight, because I can’t cry with this woman watching me. Because I can’t hit bottom, I can’t be saved. My tongue thinks it has flocked wallpaper, I’m biting the inside of my mouth so much. I haven’t slept in four days.

THE TH OF RESUR


HEFT

RRECTION

33


EXTRACT

34


THE FORMULA

If a new car built by my company leaves Chicago traveling west at 60 miles per hour, and the rear differential locked up, and the car crushes and burns with everyone trapped inside, does my company initiate a recall?

/ You take the population of vehicles in the field(A)and multiply it by the probable rate of failure(B), then multiply the result by the average cost of an out-of-court settlement(C).

/ A times B times C equals X. This is what it will cost if we don’t initiate a recall If X is greater than the cost of a call, we recall the cars and no one gets hurt. If X is less than the cost of a recall, then we don’t recall.

35


EXTRACT

36

One minute was en person had to wor minute of perfection w A moment was the m expect from


PERFERCTION

nough, Tyler said, a rk hard for it, but a was worth the effort. most you could ever m perfection.

37


“Lots of young people try to impress the world and buy too many things,” the doorman said. I called Tyler. The phone rang in Tyler’s rented house on Paper street.

Oh, Tyler, please deliver me. And the phone rang. The doorman leaned into my shoulder and said, “A lots of young people don’t know what they really want.” Oh, Tyler, rescue me. And the phone rang.


“ Young people, they think they want the whole world.” Deliver me from Swedish furniture. Deliver me from clever art. And the phone rang and Tyler answered. “If you don’t know what you want,” the doorman said, “you end up with a lot you don’t.”

/ May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect.


EXTRACT

40

There, drunk in a bar where no one was watching and no one would care, I asked Tyler what he wanted me to do. Tyler said,

“I want you to hit me as


THE FIRST FIGHT

s hard as you can.”

41


EXTRACT

08

Tyler says I’m nowhere near hitting the bottom, yet. And if I don’t fall all the way, I can’t be saved. Jesus did it with his crucifixion thing. I shouldn’t just abandon money and property and knowledge. This isn’t just a weekend retreat. I should run from selfimprovement, and I should be running toward disaster. I can’t just play it safe anymore. This isn’t a seminar. “If you lose your nerve before you hit the bottom,” Tyler says,“you’ll never really succeed.” Only after disaster can we be resurrected.

T


43

THE BOTTOM LINE


EXTRACT

44


BURN

“You can mix the nitroglycerin with more nitric acid and paraffin and make gelatin explosives,” Tyler says. “You could blow up a building, easy,” Tyler says. Tyler tilts the can of lye an inch above the shining Wet kiss on the back of my hand. “This is a chemical burn,” Tyler says, “and it will hurt worse than you’ve ever been burned. It can be worse than a hundred cigarettes.” The kiss shines on the back of my hand. “You’ll have a scar,” Tyler says. “With enough soap,” Tyler says, “you could blow up the whole world. Now remember your promise.”

/ And Tyler pours the lye.

45


47

The house is waiting for something, a zoning change or a will to come out of probate, and then it will be torn down.


EXTRACT

If I had only wasted a couple of minutes and gone over to watch Marla die, then none of this would have happened.

/ Tyler tells me how Marla lives in room 8G, on the top floor of the Regent Hotel, up eight flights of stairs and down a noisy hallway with canned television laughter coming through the doors. Every couple seconds an actress screams or actors die screaming in a rattle of bullets. Tyler gets to end of the hallway and before he knocks a thin, thin, buttermilk sallow arm slingshots out the door of room 8G, grabs his wrist, and yanks Tyler inside. . . . . .

48


UNEXPECTED MEETING

49


EXTRACT

Soap, Tyler, I say, we need soap. We need to make some soap. I need to wash my pants. I hold Tyler’s feet while he does two hundred sit-ups. “To make soap, first we have to render fat.” Tyler is full of useful information.

50


CAPABILITY

51


09

/ Marla looks down at me doing my Prince Charming routine with her shoes and She says, “I let myself in. I didn’t think anyone was home. Your front door doesn’t lock.” I don’t say anything. “You know, the condom is the glass slipper of our generation you it on when you meet a stranger. You dance all night, then you throw it away. The condom, I mean. Not the stranger.”


54

EXTRACT

I haven’t slept in three days unless I’m sleeping now. My boss shakes the paper under my nose. What about it, he says. Is this some little game I’m playing on company time? I’m paid for my full attention, not to waste time with little war games. And I’m not paid to abuse the copy machines. What about it? He shakes the paper under my nose. What do I think, he asks, what should he do with an employee who spends company time in some little fantasy world. If I was in his shoes, what would I do? What would I do?

/ The hole in my cheek, the blue-black swelling around my eyes, and the swollen red scar of Tyler’s kiss on the back of my hand, a copy of a copy of a copy. my hand, a copy of a copy of a copy. Speculation. Why does Tyler want ten copies of the fight club rules? Hindu cow.

/ What I would do, I say, is I’d be very careful who I talked to about this paper. I say, it sounds like some dangerous psychotic killer wrote this, and this buttoned-down schizophrenic could probably go over the edge at any moment in the working day and stalk from office to office with an Armalite AR-180 carbine gas-operated semiautomatic. My boss just looks at me.


09


EXTRACT

56


57

CIRCULATION

We go upstairs to her room, and Marla tells me how in the wild you don’t see old animals because as soon as they age, animals die. If they get sick or slow down, something stronger kills them. Animals aren’t meant to get old. Marla lies down on her bed and undoes the tie on her bathrobe, and says our culture has made death something wrong. Old animals should be an unnatural exception.


EXTRACT

This is why I loved the support groups so much, if people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention. If this might be the last time they saw you, they really saw you. Everything else about their checkbook balance and radio songs and messy hair Went out the window. You had their full attention. People listened instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. And when they spoke, they weren’t telling you a story. When the two of you talked, you were building something, and afterward you were both different than before.

58


EMPATHY

59


EXTRACT

60

What you have to know is that Marla is still alive. Marla’s philosophy of life, she told me, is that she can die at any moment. The tragedy of her life is that she dosen’t.


POOR GIRL

61


EXTRACT

“Disaster is a natural part of my evolution,” Tyler whispered, “to ward tragedy and dissolution.” I told the detective that it was the refrigerator that blew up my condo. “I’m breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions,” Tyler whispered, “because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit.” The dynamite, the detective said, there were impurities, a residue of ammonium oxalate and potassium perchloride that might mean the bomb was homemade, and the dead bolt on the front door was shattered.

/ I said I was in Washington, D.C., that night.


SUSPICION

63


EXTRACT

64

DEJA VU


65

I’m standing at the head of the manager’s desk when I say, what? You don’t like the ideal of this? And without flinching, still looking at the manager, I roundhouse the fist at the centrifugal force end of my arm and slam fresh blood out of the cracked scabs in my nose. For no reason at all, I remember the night Tyler and I had our fist fight.

/had our fist fight. “I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”


EXTRACT

66


SABOTAGE

67

I held the face of mister angel like a baby or football in the crook of my arm and bashed him with my knuckles, bashed him until his teeth broke through his lips. Bashed him with my elbow after that until he fell through my arms into a heap at my feet. Until the skin was pounded thin across his cheekbones and turned black. I wanted to breathe smoke. Birds and deer are a silly luxury, and all the fish should be floating. I wanted to burn the Louver. I’d do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa. This is my world, now. This is my world, my world, and those ancient people are already dead. It was at the breakfast that morning that Tyler invented Project Mayhem. We wanted to blast the world free of history.


68

EXTRACT

MY boss brings another sheet of paper on my desk and sets Why that many? it at my elbow. I don’t even wear a tie anymore. My boss is wearing his blue tie, so it must be a Thursday. The door to my boss’s office is always closed now, and we haven’t traded more than two words any day since he found the fight club

“Because,” Tyler said, “that’s how many guys can sleep in the basement, if we put them in triple-decker army surplus bunk beds.”

rules in the copy machine and I maybe implied I might gut One hundred and twenty-six. him with a shotgun blast. Just me clowning around, again.

I asked, what about their stuff?

Or, I might call the Compliance people at the Department of A Tyler said, “They won’t bring anything more than what’s Transportation. There’s a front seat mounting bracket that on the list, and it should all fit under a mattress.” never passed collision testing before it went into producThe list my boss finds in the copy machine, the copy machine tion.If you know where to look, there are bodies buried counter still set for seventy-two copies, the list says: everywhere. Morning, I say. He says “Morning.”

“ Bringing the required items does not guarantee admission

Set at my elbow is another for-my-eyes only important secret

to training, but no applicant will be considered unless he

document Tyler wanted me to type up and copy. A week ago,

arrives equipped with the following items and exactly five

Tyler was pacing out the dimensions of the basement of the

hundred dollars cash for personal burial money.”

rented house on Paper Street. It’s sixty-five shoe lengths front to back and forty shoe lengths side to side. Tyler was thinking out loud. Tyler asked me, “What is six times seven?” Forty-two. “And forty-two times three?”

It costs at least three hundred dollars to cremate an indigent corpse, Tyler told me, and the price was going up. Anyone who dies without at least this much money, their body goes to an autopsy class. The money must always be carried in the student’s shoe so

Tyler gave me a handwritten list of notes and said to type it if the student is ever killed, his death will not be a burden on Project Mayhem. and make seventy-two copies.


RECRUITMENT

In addition, the applicant has to arrive with the following: Two black shirts. Two black pair of trousers. One pair of heavy black shoes.

69

At my desk, with my boss still standing there, I pick up the original list and tell him, thanks. My boss goes into his office, and I set to work playing solitaire on my computer. After work, I give Tyler the copies, and days go by. I go to work.

Two pair of black socks and two pair of plain underwear,

I come home.

One heavy black coat.

I go to work.

This includes the clothes the applicant has on his back.

I come home, and there’s a guy standing on our front porch.

One white towel.

The guy’s at the front door with his second black shirt and

One army surplus cot mattress. One white plastic mixing bowl.

pants in a brown paper sack and he’s got the last three items, a white towel, an army surplus mattress, and a plastic bowl, set on the porch railing. From an upstairs window, Tyler and I peek out at the guy, and Tyler tells me to send the guy away.


70

EXTRACT

“He’s too young,” Tyler says.

So I tell mister angel he’s too young, but at lunchtime he’s still there. After lunch, I go out and beat mister angel with

The guy on the porch is mister angel face whom I tried to destroy the night Tyler invented Project Mayhem. Even with his two black eyes and blond crew cut, you see his

a broom and kick the guy’s sack out into the street. From upstairs, Tyler watches me stickball the broom upside the kid’s ear, the kid just standing there, then I kick his stuff into

tough pretty scowl without wrinkles or scars. Put him in

the gutter and scream.

a dress and make him smile, and he’d be a woman.

Go away, I’m screaming. Haven’t you heard? You’re too young. You’ll never make it, I scream. Come back in a couple

Mister angel just stands his toes against the front door, just looks straight ahead into the splintering wood with his hands at his sides, wearing black shoes, black shirt, black pair of trousers. “Get rid of him,” Tyler tells me. “He’s too young.” I ask how young is too young?

years and apply again. Just go. Just get off my porch. The next day, the guy is still there, and Tyler goes out to go, “I’m sorry.” Tyler says he’s sorry he told the guy about training, but the guy is really too young, and would he please just go. Good cop. Bad cop. I scream at the poor guy, again. Then, six hours later, Tyler

“It doesn’t matter,” Tyler says. “If the applicant is young, we goes out and says he’s sorry, but no. The guy has to leave. tell him he’s too young. If he’s fat, he’s too fat. If he’s old, Tyler says he’s going to call the police if the guy won’t leave. he’s too old. Thin, he’s too thin. White, he’s too white. Black, he’s too black.” This is how Buddhist temples have tested applicants going back for bah-zillion years, Tyler says. You tell the applicant

And the guy stays. And his clothes are still in the gutter. The wind takes the torn paper sack away.

to go away, and if his resolve is so strong that he waits at And the guy stays. the entrance without food or shelter or encouragement for On the third day, another applicant is at the front door. Mister three days, then and only then can he enter and begin the angel is still there, and Tyler goes down and just tells mister training.

angel, “Come in. Get your stuff out of the street and come in.”


RECRUITMENT

71

To the new guy, Tyler says, he’s sorry but there’s been a I come home from work now, and the house is filled with mistake. The new guy is too old to train here, and would be strangers that Tyler has accepted. All of them working. The please leave.

whole first floor turns into a kitchen and a soap factory. The bathroom is never empty. Teams of men disappear for a few

/ I go to work every day. I come home, and every day there’s one or two guys waiting on the front porch. These new guys don’t make eye contact. I shut the door and leave them on the porch. This happens every day for a while, and

days and come home with red rubber bags of thin, watery fat. One night, Tyler comes upstairs to find me hiding in my room and says, “Don’t bother them. They all know what to do. It’s part of Project Mayhem. No one guy understands the whole plan, but each guy is trained to do one simple task perfectly.”

sometimes the applicants will leave, but most times, the The rule In Project Mayhem is you have to trust Tyler. applicants stick it out until the third day, until most of the seventy-two bunk beds Tyler and I bought and set up in the basement are full. One day, Tyler gives me five hundred dollars in cash and tells me to keep it in my shoe all the time. My personal burial money. This is another old Buddhist monastery thing.

Then Tyler’s gone. Team of Project Mayhem guys render fat all day. I’m not sleeping. All night I hear other teams mix the lye and cut the bars and bake the of soap on Cookie Sheets, then wrap each bar in tissue and seal it with the Paper Street Soap Company label. Everyone except me seems to know what to do, and Tyler is never home.


74

EXTRACT

T H E TAS K S fo r s p a c e mo nk e y s I hug the walls, being a mouse trapped in this clockwork of from barber shops to ward off moles and mice and boost silent the energy of trained monkeys, cooking and working the protein in the soil. and sleeping in teams. Pull a lever. Push a button. A team of space monkeys cooks meals all day, and all day, teams of space monkeys are eating out of the plastic bowls they brought with them. One morning I’m leaving for work and Big Bob’s on the front porch wearing black shoes and pants. I ask, has he seen Tyler lately? Did Tyler send him here? “The first rule about Project Mayhem,” Big Bob says with his heels together and his back ramrod straight , “is you don’t ask questions about Project Mayhem. So what brainless little honor has Tyler assigned him, I ask. There are guys whose job is to just boil rice all day or wash out eating bowls or clean the crapper. All day. Has Tyler

At any time of the night, space monkeys from some slaughterhouse come home with bags of blood meal to boost the iron in the soil and bone meal to boost the phosphorus. Teams of space monkeys plant basil and thyme and lettuce and starts of witch hazel and eucalyptus and mock orange and mint in a kaleidoscope knot pattern. A rose window in every shade of green. And other teams go out at night and kill the slugs and snails by candlelight. Another team of space monkeys picks only the most perfect leaves and juniper berries to boil for a natural dye. Comfrey because it’s a natural disinfectant. Violet leaves because they cure headaches and sweet woodruff because it gives soap a cut-grass smell.

promised Big Bob enlightenment if he spends sixteen In the kitchen are bottles of 80-proof vodka to make the hours a day wrapping bars of soap? Big Bob doesn’t say anything.

translucent rose geranium and brown sugar soap and the patchouli soap, and I steal a bottle of vodka and spend my

personal burial money on cigarettes. Marla shows up. We I go to work. I come home, and Big Bob’s still on the porch. talk about the plants. Marla and I walk on raked gravel I don’t sleep all night, and the next morning, Big Bob’s out paths through the kaleidoscope green patterns of the gartending the garden.

den, drinking and smoking. We talk about her breasts. We

Before I leave for work, I ask Big Bob, who let him in? Who talk about everything except Tyler Durden. assigned him this task? Did he see Tyler? Was Tyler here And one day it’s in the newspaper how a team of men last night? wearing black had stormed through a better neighborhood Big Bob says, “The first rule in Project Mayhem is you and a luxury car dealership slamming baseball bats against the front bumpers of cars so the air bags inside would exdon’t talk--“ I cut him off. I say, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

plode in a powdery mess with their car alarms screaming.

At the Paper Street Soap Company, other teams pick the And while I ’m at work, teams of space monkeys dig up the petals from roses or anemones and lavender and pack the muddy lawn around the house and cut the dirt with Epsom flowers into boxes with a cake of pure tallow that will absorb salts to lower the acidity, and spade in loads of free steer their scent for making soap with a flower smell. manure from the stockyards and bags of hair clippings


RECRUITMENT

75

tree and set a perfect little forest fire. It was in the news/ Marla tells me about the plants. The rose, Marla tells me, is a natural astringent. Some of the plants have obituary names: Iris, Basil, Rue, Rosemary, and Verbena. Some, like meadowsweet and cowslips, sweet flag and spikenard, are like the names of Shakespeare fairies. Deer tongue with its sweet vanilla smell. Witch hazel, another natural astringent. Orrisroot, the wild Spanish iris.

paper, how townhouse windows across the street from the fire melted, and parked cars farted and settled on melted flat tires.

/ Tyler’s rented house on Paper Street is a living thing wet on the inside from so many people sweating and breathing. So many people are moving inside, the house moves. Another night that Tyler didn’t come home, someone was

drilling bank machines and pay telephones and then screwEvery night, Marla and I walk in the garden until I’m sure ing lube fittings into the drilled holes and using a grease that Tyler’s not coming home that night. Right behind us gun to pump the bank machines and pay telephones full of

is always a space monkey trailing us to pick up the twist axle grease or vanilla pudding. of balm or rue of mint Marla crushes under my nose. A And Tyler was never at home, but after a month a few of dropped cigarette butt. The Space monkey rakes the path the space monkeys had Tyler’s kiss burned into the back behind him to erase our ever being there. of their hand. Then those space monkeys were gone, too, And one night in an uptown square park, another group of and new ones were on the front porch to replace them. men poured gasoline around every tree and from tree to


76

EXTRACT

And every day, the teams of men came and went in different Even my boss has probably read it. cars. You never saw the same car twice. One evening, I hear Marla on the front porch, telling a space monkey, “I’m here to see Tyler. Tyler Durden. He lives here. I’m his friend.”The

We’re all just a big bunch of crap, I say. Go ahead. Play your little game. Don’t mind me.

space monkey says, “I’m sorry, but you’re too . . . ,” and he The space monkeys wait in quiet while I make my sandwich and take another bottle of vodka and go up the stairs. Behind pauses, “you’re too young to train here.” Marla says, “Get screwed.”

me I hear, “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.”

“Besides,” the space monkey says, “you haven’t brought the

required items: two black shirts, two pair of black pants---“ / Marla screams, “Tyler!”

“One pair of heavy black shoes.” “Tyler!” “Two pair of black socks and two pair ofP1ain underwear.” “Tyler!”

I am Joe’s Broken Heart because Tyler’s dumped me. Because my father dumped me. Oh, I could go on and on.

Some nights, after work, I go to a different fight club in the basement of a bar or garage, and I ask if anybody’s seen Tyler Durden. In every new fight club, someone I’ve never met is standing

under the one light in the center of the darkness, surrounded And I hear the front door slam shut. Marla doesn’t wait the by men, and reading Tyler’s words. three days. The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club. / Most days, after work, I come home and make a peanut butter sandwich. When I come home, one space monkey is reading to the assembled space monkeys who sit covering the whole first

When the fights get started, I take the club leader aside and ask if he’s seen Tyler. I live with Tyler, I say, and he hasn’t been home for a while. The guy’s eyes get big and he asks, do I really know Tyler Durden?

floor. “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the This happens in most of the new fight clubs. Yes, I say, I’m same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all

best buddies with Tyler. Then, everybody all of a sudden

part of the same compost pile.”

wants to shake my hand.

The space monkey continues, “Our culture has made us all the These new guys stare at the butthole in my cheek and the same. No one is truly white or black or rich, anymore. We all want

black skin on my face, yellow and green around the edges,

the same. Individually, we are nothing.”

and they call me sir. No, sir. Not hardly, sir. Nobody they

The reader stops when I walk in to make my sandwich, and all the space monkeys sit silent as if I were alone. I say, don’t bother. I’ve already read it. I typed it.

know’s ever met Tyler Durden. Friends of friends met Tyler Durden, and they founded this chapter of fight club, sir.


RECRUITMENT

Then they wink at me. Nobody they know has ever seen Tyler Durden. Sir. Is it true, everybody asks. Is Tyler Durden building an army? That’s the word. Does Tyler Durden only sleep one

77

Tufts of hair surface beside the dirt clods. Hair and shit. Bone meal and blood meal. The plants are growing faster than the space monkeys can cut them back. Marla asks, “What are you going to do?” What’s the word?

hour a night? Rumor has it that Tyler’s on the road starting In the dirt is a shining spot of gold, and I kneel down to see, fight clubs all over the country. What’s next, everybody what’s going to happen next, I don’t know, I tell Marla. wants to know. The meetings for Project Mayhem have moved to bigger basements because each committee—Arson, Assault, Mischief, and Misinformation—gets bigger as more guys graduate out of fight club. Each committee has a leader, and even the leaders don’t know where Tyler’s at. Tyler calls them every week on the phone. Everybody on Project Mayhem wants to know what’s next. Where are we going? What is there to look forward to? On Paper Street, Marla and I walk through the garden at

It looks like we’ve both been dumped. In the corner of my eye, the space monkeys pace around in black, each one hunched over his candle. The little spot of gold in the dirt is a molar with a gold filling. Next to it surface two more molars with silver amalgam fillings. It’s a jawbone. I say, no, I can’t say what’s going to happen. And I push the one, two, three molars into the dirt and hair and shit and bone and blood where Marla won’t see. /

night with our bare feet, every step brushing up the smell of / sage and lemon verbena and rose geranium. Black shirts and black pants hunch around us with candles, lifting plant / leaves to kill a snail or slug. Marla asks, what’s going on here?


EXTRACT

08


09

The sun is going down, and piled-up storm clouds the size of Wyoming and Japan are headed our way. It’s not like I have a window at work. All the outside walls are floor-to-ceiling glass. Everything where I work is floor-to-ceiling glass. Everything is Vertical blinds; Everything is industrial lowpile gray carpet spotted with little tombstone monuments where the PCs plug into the network. Everything is a maze of cubicles boxed in with fences of upholstered plywood. A vacuum cleaner hums somewhere.


EXTRACT

Even a week after fight club, you’ve got no problem driving inside the speed limit. Maybe you’ve been passing black shit, internal injuries for two days, but you are so cool. Other cars drive around you. Cars tailgate. You get the finger from other drivers. Total strangers hate you. It’s absolutely nothing personal. After fight Club, you’re so relaxed, you just cannot care. You don’t even turn the radio on. Maybe your ribs stab along a hairline fracture every time you take a breath. Cars behind you blink their lights. The sun is going down, orange and gold.

80


EGO

81


EXTRACT

82


PERPLEXITY

Where’s Tyler? “The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club,” the mechanic says. “And the last rule about Project Mayhem is you don’t ask question.” So what can he tell me? He says, “What you have to understand, is your father was your model for God.” Behind us, and my job and my office are smaller, smaller, smaller, gone. I sniff the gasoline on my hands.

83


EXTRACT

08


COLLAPSE

“What you have to consider,” he says, “is the possibility that God doesn’t like you. Could be, God hates us. This is not the worst thing that can happen.” How Tyler saw it was that getting God’s attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God’s hate is better than His indifference. If you could be either God’s worst enemy or nothing, which would you choose? We are God’s middle children, according to Tyler Durden, with no special place in history and no special attention. Unless we get God’s attention, we have no hope of damnation or redemption. / Which is worse, hell or nothing?

85


“We don’t have a great in our generation, or a depression, but we do, have a great war of the We have a great revolu against the culture. The depression is our lives have a spiritual depres


war a great , we e spirit. ution e great s. We ssion.�


EXTRACT

88


IS THIS A TEST?

89

The bar is empty, and the bartender says, “Welcome back, sir.” I’ve never been to this bar, ever, ever before. I ask if he knows the name Tyler Durden. The bartender grins with his chin stuck above the top of the white neck brace and asks, “Is this a test?”


Set your watch ahead an hour. If you can wake up in different place. If you can wake up in different time. Why can’t you become different persons? / Every bar you go into , punched-out guys want to buy you a beer. And no, sir, they’ve never met this Tyler Durden. And they wink.


EXTRACT

92


“You are a brave man,” the bus driver says, “to make yourself a homework assignment.” You know one of the space monkeys has a rubber band to wrap around your nuts. They fill up the front of the bus. “You know the drill, Mr. Durden. You said it yourself . You said, if anyone ever tries to shut down the club, even you, then we have to get him by the nuts.”


“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” —Chuck Palahniuk


THE AUTHOR CHUCK PALAHNIUK

Charles Michael “Chuck” Palahniuk born February 21, 1962) is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is best known as the author of the awardwinning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film. He maintains homes in the states of Oregon and Washington.

WRITING STYLE P a l a h n i u k ’s w r i t i n g s t y l e h a s b e e n i n f l u e n c e d b y a u t h o r s s u c h a s t h e m i n i m a l i s t To m S p a n b a u e r ( w h o t a u g h t P a l a h n i u k i n P o r t l a n d f r o m 1991 to 1996), Amy Hempel, Mark Richard, Denis Johnson, Thom Jones, and Bret Easton Ellis. In what the author refers to as a minimalistic approach, his writings include a limited vocabulary and short sentences to mimic the way that an average person telling a story would speak.

AWA R D S The 1997 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award (Fight Club) The 1997 Oregon Book Award for Best Novel (Fight Club) The 2003 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award (Lullaby) He was nominated for the 1999 Oregon Book Award for Best Novel for Survivor and for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel for Lullaby in 2002 and for Haunted in 2005.


INDEX THE SOURECES OF TEXTS

04

SUMMARY BOOKRAGS// http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-fight-club/

08

CHARACTERS’ DESCRIPTION WIKIPEDIA// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Club_(novel)

THE TEXT OF EXTRACT CHAPTER

28

I N I T I A L I Z AT I O N

FIGHT CLUB NOVEL// ISBN-13: 9780393327342 P u b l i s h e r : N o r t o n , W. W. & C o m p a n y , I n c .

30

WARMTH

32

THE THEFT OF RESURRECTION

34

THE FORMULA

36

PERFERCTION

38

SOS

40

THE FIRST FIGHT

42

THE BOTTOM LINE

44

BURN

46

WRECK

48

UNEXPECTED MEETING

50

CAPABILITY

52

DANCE WITH ME

54

ANGER AROUSER

56

C I R C U L AT I O N

58

E M PAT H Y

60

POOR GIRL

62

SUSPICION

64

DEJA VU

66

S A B O TA G E

68

RECRUITMENT

78

THE CITY

80

EGO

82

PERPLEXITY

84

COLLAPSE

86

THE PERSECUTION OF SPIRIT

88

IS THIS A TEST?

90

FLIGHTS

92

THE CRISIS MANAGEMENT


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A book of Fight Club novel